The fever of alchemical engineering has descended on the RPS team like a dank fog. Opus Magnum is the new Zachtronics puzzler that asks you to make some hair gel out of salt and a hangover cure out of marbles. It’s really good. We’ve already shown you some mechanical marvels and talked about it on the podcast but since the game includes a “record GIF” button, we wanted to show off three of our own proudest creations. Come see the clockwork beauty of our well-oiled machines.
Lead Separation by Matt
Matt: Towards the end of the game, Opus Magnum occasionally tasks you with dismantling a molecule rather than putting one together. I like this one because, although it means I score terribly in the ‘area’ category, it’s spread out so that you can clearly see each part of the machine doing its thing. I also enjoy the stupidly long four-piston journey that one of those salt atoms goes on. That gif doesn’t feature my favourite thing about it though, which is the sweet ‘DUN DUN DA DUN DUN’ rhythm it churns out as each atom gets tucked into a product slot.
Precision Machine Oil by Graham
Graham: I decided to try Opus Magnum after seeing some friends compete over who could make solutions with the lowest number of cycles. They were sharing GIFs like the one above, of clacking machinery doing things I couldn’t follow. So I downloaded it, played far enough to reach the level they were sharing gifs of, and then I got to work. I’ve now been playing ‘Precision Oil Machine’, the level shown above, for about 10 hours, even though I’ve only played the rest of the game around it for about 2.
This GIF shows my favourite iteration in my work so far. It’s not my most efficient attempt, but it has an elegance to it that I find more satisfying than the others. It embodies something I like about the game generally: puzzle solutions have aesthetic qualities that exist separate from the game’s other measures of success. That’s why I was compelled to download it even after seeing solutions I didn’t understand, and why it’s so wonderful that the game has a ‘Make GIF’ button. It’s also why I’d recommend the game to people who don’t normally go in for these engineering-style puzzle games. In the levels I’ve played so far, finding the solution has never been too tricky and even the sloppiest of designs have made me feel proud of what I’ve constructed. It’s just fun to watch all those arms and atoms clunking back and forth.
Mists of Incapacitation by Brendy
Brendan: I was so proud of this creation that I entirely forgot it was producing a toxic gas for the purposes of urban warfare. When you complete the game’s puzzles, there’s often a moment of dissatisfaction. It slowly dawns on you that your work is flawed, you begin to notice the slow parts, the pauses in the machine, the waste. But with this gizmo, that sensation didn’t come. I like it because it is taut and precise. It is so compact that it should, by all rights, collapse in on itself. The arms look as if they ought to collide, the grabbers ought to quarrel, the elemental marbles ought to come spilling out of it like insecure glass eyeballs. And yet none of this occurs. Everything is timed just so. Ah, my beautiful toxic gas machine.
Opus Magnum is on Steam early access for £15.49/$20